Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pamper Yourself for Earth Day...

It's easy to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle without a great cash outlay, and be good to yourself at the same time!

Looking good

Zuzu Luxe Cosmetics (found online and at Pangea in Rockville) and Ecco Bella (online and at Whole Foods Markets) make high-quality cosmetics which are equivalent in cost to what you'll find at the grocery store or drugstore, as makeup isn't exactly cheap anymore. The lipstick from both brands glide smoothly and have a wide range of colors for all complexions.

Smelling good

You can smell good and save serious cash by switching the type of fragrance you purchase, from a commercial brand to a fragrance oil. Aromas set in oil last longer than those set in alcohol, as the commercial ones are, so a little goes a long way. The Attar Bazaar line of fragrance oils, available online and at Whole Foods, comes in tiny vials at $8 apiece, but then you only need a drop at a time. You can even try them at the store to see which one(s) you like before you buy. What a deal!

Feeling good

If you enjoy scented container candles, particularly the environmentally responsible soy or beeswax container candles, you can be both frugal and pamper yourself. When the wick is almost burned down to the metal wickholder, where you can almost see it through the wax, light the wick, blow it out, then quickly fish out the wickholder before the wax turns cold; soywax tends to be warm, but not burning hot, so this is OK. [Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to re-use the wickholder.] Put the wax in another container, like your mother did back in the day when she saved bacon grease. Use this wax on your hands for a personal, paraffin-free hand treatment! Of course, other parts of your body would appreciate this spa treatment, particularly when the weather turns cold, as candlewax softens the skin like nobody's business yet is not greasy like baby oil. You can do this with many candle brands, such as Method (whose grapefruit pear scent is now, unfortunately, only available online), not just particular brands touted as being massage oil candles.

This is Earth Day done right: kicking back, sitting pretty, and saving bucks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Here he comes...

Pope Benedict XVI, that is. While it's not the Pope's intention to tie up traffic on the streets and byways in and around Washington this week, it's a natural consequence of his visit. (His arrival inadvertently proves the usefulness of getting around town on Metro.)

Although G.W. Bush claims that he greeted Pope Benedict at Andrews as a sign of "respect" for the pontiff, it's interesting how W has ignored both the current pope's views on the Iraq war, as well as those of Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II. What would constitute disrespect on W's part, if this is how he treats people he claims to respect?

* * *

Just in time for Earth Day comes word that the Vatican is making efforts to become greener, by such measures as installing 1,000 solar panels in the Paul VI Audience Hall (Vatican City's main auditorium), and providing prayer books made with recycled paper at a youth festival. I hope such efforts mean that Catholics can breathe easier, in that the Vatican is taking seriously the major issues of the day, the environment as well as the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic church in the past few years. One can only hope...